2018 Progress Report: Monitoring the Air in Our Community: Engaging Citizens in Research

EPA Grant Number: R836187
Title: Monitoring the Air in Our Community: Engaging Citizens in Research
Investigators: Cho, Seung-Hyun , Cicutto, Lisa , Crews, Krysten , Hawthorne, Wendy
Institution: Research Triangle Institute , National Jewish Health , Groundwork Denver
Current Institution: Research Triangle Institute , Groundwork Denver , National Jewish Health
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2019 (Extended to April 30, 2020)
Project Period Covered by this Report: May 1, 2018 through April 30,2019
Project Amount: $749,837
RFA: Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects , Particulate Matter


The objectives of this project are to learn how communities can use low-cost air quality monitors to understand their exposure to air pollution and support the ability of communities to make informed decision through effective knowledge translation. During this study, participants will receive data about their exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Various data outputs formats and coaching support will be evaluated for the effectiveness of knowledge translational approaches in supporting behavioral modifications to decrease exposure to air pollutants. The ambient monitoring portion of this project will provide information to community members about the neighborhood outdoor air quality, including air quality changes associated with the I-70 expansion project. Furthermore, a citizen science framework will be developed, as a template for guiding future community projects.

Progress Summary:

The period covered by this report aligned with longitudinal ambient air and personal exposure monitoring and evaluation of knowledge translation. Accomplishments include:

1. Conducted longitudinal ambient air and personal exposure monitoring

We completed our project to measure ambient levels of PM2.5 in the Globeville/Elyria and Swansea (GES) for one year over the summer, fall and winter seasons. Continuous ambient air monitoring was performed for three weeks per season. We successfully worked with a GES community organization, Groundwork Denver, to set-up a sensor network for monitoring PM2.5 in the GES, which consisted of 12 sites. Most sites, including schools, parks and entertainment facilities, were selected by community. We also completed the longitudinal personal monitoring of PM2.5 study. The study involved participants performing personal monitoring for 72 hours for three seasons (summer 2018, fall 2018, and winter 2019). Participants also recorded daily time activity diary, which was used to identify high exposure events and potential sources of PM for informed decision making. Spatio-temporal variability of ambient PM2.5 are being investigated from the sensor network data. Participants for personal monitoring identified exposures of concern and potential sources of PM, identified strategies to reduce PM2.5 exposure, and implemented the identified activities.

2. Evaluate the effectiveness of sensor data communication approaches for improving knowledge

Participants’ knowledge of PM was evaluated through phased data communication approaches. Those approaches involve reviewing each seasonal ambient and personal monitoring data and decision coaching. Questionnaires were administered to evaluate knowledge of PM (knowledge, confidence, development and implementation of action plan) before the monitoring began as baseline, and at the end of each seasonal monitoring campaign after sharing and reviewing the data.

3. Supports for Effective Translation

We are taking a multi-faceted approach for translating air quality and personal exposure information with the goal to improve environmental health literacy and support the ability for informed decision making. This includes developing a website for our project, a blueprint for conducting air quality monitoring in communities, and educational resources.

Future Activities:

Various community outreach activities and a townhall meeting with the GES community will be held to share the study results and to evaluate the knowledge translated from the data presented at the meeting. Results from the study will be used to develop best practices for citizen science framework and shared via the website. Four manuscripts are being prepared for peer-reviewed journal publication.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 7 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Air quality, air sensor, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, exposure, risk, health effects, indoor air, outdoor air, human health, health effects, citizen science, environmental health literacy, community health, actionable knowledge

Relevant Websites:

RTI International to create framework for communities to design and conduct air quality monitoring studies Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report